Eisegesis is the interpretation of the Biblical passage by reading into it one’s own ideas. This is opposed to exegesis is which the interpretation of a passage is rightly determined through analysis of the surrounding context, the rest of Scripture, and the original language.
Proof texting is the practice of pulling a portion of Scripture completely out of its context and applying it to your own message. The proof text passage is used in a way that the author never intended. One common proof texting method is to employ multiple Bible translations and paraphrases. One piece of evidence for the proof texting in Moore’s book So Long, Insecurity is the use of eight (yes, 8!) different Bible translations. This Bible translation hopscotch is common among writers who want to find a particular wording, or even the use of a single word, to support their ideas. Rather than starting from the Scripture and drawing a conclusion, they start from their own conclusion and find a Bible verse that can be made to sound like it supports their ideas. They only have to find the right translation and rip the verse out of its context.
Moore improperly allegorizes Scripture repeatedly by taking historical accounts and making them symbolic and applicable to our lives. Often this twists the meaning and undermines the historicity of the accounts.
Narcissistic Eisegesis – Reading oneself into certain Bible stories or Bible passages, so as to allegorize the Bible’s message to make it about oneself, especially for the purpose of adding motivation, positive thoughts, personal success and a sense of heroism to one’s life. One example would include imagining oneself as Moses, Joshua, Samson, Elijah, Jesus and other Bible characters who miraculously accomplished things by faith alone. Faith is both right and important for every believer’s walk with God; however, each believer’s life and God-given purpose is unique and different from that of the Bible characters. Narcissistic eisegesis leads people to develop a subjective view of the Bible’s narrative and overlook the objective meaning that the God of truth wants the reader to learn. Also called “narcigesis,” this is perhaps the most common type of eisegesis seen in the churches, especially in the Word of Faith and liberal churches that use seeker friendly methods to appeal to humanism, emotionalism, experience, felt needs, carnality and worldly successes.
Eisegesis of Bible History – Interpreting historical events in the Bible according to one’s own distorted or delusional views, thus creating a false Bible history for the Old Testament or New Testament. This could also mean designing a false timeline for the Bible, as well as adding historical events to the Bible’s timeline that were never recorded in scripture or may contradict scripture. Examples of historical eisegesis include the Watchtower Society’s belief that Nebuchadnezzar overthrew Jerusalem in 607 BC instead of 586 BC, or that the “seven times” mentioned in Daniel 4 represent 2,520 years spanning from 607 BC to 1914 AD. Still other examples would include the Roman Catholic idea that the apostle Peter was the first Pope, and the Mormon belief that Jesus Christ visited the Native American Indians immediately after His resurrection.
Eisegesis of Bible Prophecy – Reading oneself, an organization or various other people or events into the Bible’s prophetic passages that are not really mentioned in the text. Many religious cults and false prophets have a habit of inserting themselves or their organization into Bible prophecy to make it seem as if the Bible prophesied about them. They also use Bible’s prophecies to make false predictions of events that never come to pass. Some of the Word of Faith preachers and NAR preachers use prophetic eisegesis to establish their claim that the Bible prophesied specifically about them, their ministry and their personal life experiences. Also the Watchtower Society makes the claim that Bible passages about the faithful and wise servant, the Babylonian captivity, as well as the books of Ezekiel and Revelation are actually prophecies about their organization in the last days.
Eisegesis of Bible Didactics – Reading one’s own doctrines, teachings, ideals, moral principles and philosophies into the Bible’s didactic passages despite the fact that the Bible’s text does not mention such things. For example, the Roman Catholic Church uses this eisegetical interpretation to justify the veneration of Mary and the saints, prayers to Mary, the concept of purgatory and various types of unbiblical ceremonialism. False teachers may also use didactic eisegesis to impose onto scripture the idea that Christians must perform special works to become saved or remain saved, or that Christians should eat a specific kind of diet, or that musical instruments are forbidden in church services, or that Christians should hatefully shun excommunicated members and non-Christians.